33 Athletes With Famously Bad Tempers

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Terrell Owens

Wide receiver Terrell Owens’ status as a Hall of Famer was never in doubt. He ranks sixth in all-time receptions, second in receiving yards, and third in receiving touchdowns. Yet his combustible nature led to several unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and taunting celebrations that mar his career. In 2005, his coach with the Philadelphia Eagles, the respected Andy Reid, suspended him after the two argued. When inducted into the Football Hall of Fame in 2018, Owens skipped the induction ceremony because he reportedly felt slighted by not having been voted in sooner.

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Tony Stewart

Tony Stewart is the only driver to win championships with both NASCAR and IndyCar Series, earning him a spot in the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2020. Yet he has an infamous temper that blemishes his success. At a 2019 short track race in Minnesota, Stewart punched a fan who heckled him. But his most shocking outburst came in 2014 when during a sprint car race in Canandaigua Motorsports Park, Stewart struck and killed another driver, Kevin Ward when Ward walked toward his car after a wreck. Stewart, according to observers, may have wanted to scare Ward by gunning his car, but the result was tragic. Although a grand jury chose not to indict Stewart, he later settled with the Ward family in a civil lawsuit.

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Vernon Maxwell

Vernon Maxwell earned the nickname “Mad Max” during a stellar career in the NBA with the Houston Rockets. Fans, referees, and opponents were frequent targets of his ire. In 1995, the league slapped Maxwell with a 10-game suspension and a hefty fine after he went into the stands and punched a fan in the jaw during a game. Maxwell claimed the fan made racist remarks. In a video of his fights, Maxwell is seen going after a fan after a game in the tunnel and getting into battles with the greats Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley.

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